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Lymph Node Shots Tested for Grass Pollen Allergy
Date:11/11/2008

Eight-week regimen better than 3 to 5 years of standard shots under skin, study finds

TUESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A Swiss-led study appears to point the way toward a faster, safer and less painful treatment for grass pollen allergy by using direct injections into the lymph node.

Compared with traditional under-the-skin shot regimens lasting several years and involving dozens of injections, the new method appears to offer patients the same degree of relief -- with fewer side effects -- with just three shots over two months.

"Because direct administration of the allergen into the lymph node markedly enhanced efficacy, the injected allergen dose could be reduced more than 1,000-fold, and this again significantly reduced the allergic side effects," said study co-author Dr. Thomas Kundig, medical director of the department of dermatology at University Hospital of Zurich.

Kundig and colleagues published their findings in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors noted that allergic asthma affects upwards of 35 percent of those living in Westernized countries. To combat the problem, standard allergy shots -- injected in fatty tissue under the skin -- are considered the "gold standard" approach.

However, a typical shot regimen involves between 30 to 70 injections over three to five years, a time-consuming treatment that often provokes allergic reactions ranging from swelling at the shot site to systemic allergic reactions.

The result: "Less than 5 percent of allergy patients are treated with allergen-specific immunotherapy," Kundig said.

To test the potential of lymph node shots, the Swiss-American team focused on just under 100 patients between the ages of 18 and 65.

The volunteers were divided into two groups: those receiving a standard injection allergy treatment tracking a 54-injection schedule over a
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